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Research Intern
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

I wanted to gain research experience to support my applications for PhDs.

How did you find your placement/internship?

Department email

Application process

The professor of this group was mentioned in a departmental email and I emailed them directly with my CV. I would also recommend looking for similar projects in Germany through the DAAD RISE program.

Main responsibilities

Undertaking a self-led research project with the aim to develop original, phototswitchable metal-organic cages by incorporating heterodiazocines.

Typical day

Planning and running reactions and purifications. Performing measurements and spectroscopy for the characterisation of synthesis and self-assembly products. Attending group meetings and reporting my progress through presentations.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

I enjoy working in the lab everyday and seeing some of the techniques and reactions I learned in my course put into practice.

I also enjoyed my first experience of living in another country for an extended time.

Challenging aspects

Some of the syntheses are low yielding and may not always work as expected. Some patience and resilience was required, as with any original piece of academic research.

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

I gained extensive experience with common organic chemistry techniques including air-sensitive synthesis and separation techniques. I also performed several different palladium-catalysed reactions, which are taught in the course and are extremely useful, but are not performed in the undergraduate labs.

I often used spectroscopic techniques taught in the course including various types of NMR (COSY, paramagnetic, half-life measurement) and mass-spec (EI, ES, MALDI).

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

It can be difficult to find accommodation in Germany, especially when the term dates don't align with ours. I recommend looking for accommodation as soon as possible. Many students sub-let their rooms during the summer (Zwischenmiete), so if you send lots of emails to inquire you should be able to find something.

Some knowledge of the German language is definitely useful for day-to-day life and for attending meetings where German is spoken. In an academic setting, everyone you meet should have some ability in English, so you could get by without speaking German if it's really necessary.

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Form completed: 30 Aug 2017

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